If you're a wine lover, or just someone who wants to learn more about wine, the Internet can provide a wealth of information at your fingertips. There are so many winery websites, online stores and discussion forums that it's hard to know where to start when you're looking for solid wine education. Oenophiles and wine novices alike can spend hours online learning about award-winning and rare wines, pairing the right wine with food and socializing with fellow wine lovers.
Wine Review Websites
Wine review websites give wine shoppers an extra helping of security before they invest in a bottle of wine. Log in to one of the wine review sites below (some require subscriptions) to find out how some of the industry's finest score wines.
Robert Parker Wine Advocate
This website is the home of well-known wine critic Robert Parker. The Wine Advocate articles are only available to paid subscribers, but there's still a large amount of wine information available for free on the site. Some highlights are blogs from the Hedonist's Gazette and the Wine Journal, both of which feature wine and food experiences, and reviews from Robert Parker and other well-known reviewers. There's also an extensive guide of highly reviewed wines going back to 1970, a wine glossary for novices and an online store featuring regional wine guides and the print version of The Wine Advocate.
The Wine Spectator website is the online version of the magazine with articles, wine news and reviews. You can also sign up for their free newsletter to get the latest updates about the world of wine. The site has a helpful top 100 wines of the current year section and a searchable wine database with over 385,000 wine ratings. The video section includes roundtable discussions by wine experts as well as a helpful "wine 101" series covering topics such as how to decant, how to save leftover wine and how to buy wine.
Burghound is the site of well known wine expert and author Allen Meadows, who's passionate about burgundy and pinot noir wine. The site has a paid membership section as well as many resources available for free. There are educational videos featuring Allen Meadows answering subscriber questions about burgundy as well as interviews with other wine experts. There's also a "Wine Selection of the Week" highlighting a specific wine with reviews of the vintage and reason for selection. Subscribers receive access to travel guides, the quarterly journal, wine and champagne reviews, a helpful glossary and a searchable database of over 100,000 burgundies, pinot noirs and champagnes.
Vinous is a multimedia website created by Antonio Galloni, a well respected wine reviewer who was previously the lead critic for The Wine Advocate. The site has both free and subscription-only content. There are articles covering wines from all over the world which can be searched by location and category. The extensive video library includes advice on pairing wine with food, cooking with wine, interviews with wine experts and winery tours. Helpful tools for subscribers only include a vintage chart, a wine glossary and a grape guide. There are also several interactive vineyard maps available for free for locations such as the Napa Valley, and the Barolo and Barbaresco areas of Italy.
Wine Search Service Websites
If you are searching for a specific wine that you can't find locally, wine search services online can help. Many of these sites list hard to find wines with links to where you may be able to purchase them.
Vinfolio is a great site for serious collectors. In addition to selling rare and specialty wines, you can also store wines through Vinfolio and sell to other wine enthusiasts on their marketplace. There's also an excellent section of educational material on the site to get you started as a wine collector and learn the best practices for buying, selling and storing wines.
Wine-Searcher is an excellent website for finding just about any wine you would like to buy. In addition to listing wines for sale all over the country, there's a "Recommend Wines Near" section where you can choose a type of wine and a budget and Wine-Searcher will provide you with a list of options at wine stores near you. There's also a strong educational section with information for people who want to learn more about collecting and investing in wines, including information on wine valuations and wine trade terminology.
Wine Shopping Websites
Different states have varying rules about whether you can receive wine shipments. Check with your state before shopping for wines online. These following wine sites sell an interesting selection of wines, accessories and wine subscriptions.
Wine.com is the largest online wine store in the U.S. with the best selection of common and harder-to-find wines. Wine.com carries national and international vintages and also buys wine collections. If you are brand new to wines, the site provides helpful guides to learn about wine and food pairings and a quiz to find your wine style. You can sort wines by type, region, rating, price and more, and each wine listing includes ratings from well known wine review scales such as Wine Enthusiast and Tasting Panel.
This online store does not carry wine but instead offers a huge selection of wine accessories including storage, stemware, decanters, and more. There are also informational articles on how to start a basement wine cellar, ideas for best wine gifts, and buying guides for standard accessories such as decanters, glassware, wine openers, racks, and refrigerators.
The Wine Exchange has a large selection of wines from around the world with excellent pricing. The site is designed to be both a sales and education spot for the wine lover, with a large embedded playlist from their YouTube channel The Extract. The Wine Exchange also carries accessories such as corkscrews, decanters and gift bags as well as specialty foods including olive oils, condiments and sweets.
Wine On Sale
This online wine store has a smaller selection than some larger sites, but Wine on Sale prides themselves on their low prices for quality vintages. They sell wine from the U.S. as well as France, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina and Chile. There are curated wine packs you can purchase that feature themed wines, such as a global sampler pack of award-winning international wines or wine sets from specific vineyards. They also have a large selection of gifts with pricing as low as $19.95 up to a little over $200.
There are many excellent wine clubs online that will ship wines to you on a monthly or quarterly subscription. Bright Cellars is unique in how they help you determine the right wines for you. You start out by taking a fun quiz to develop your own wine tasting profiles, and the website will provide you with wines based on your quiz results. You'll then receive wines monthly that match your flavor profile, although you can also order wines outside of your profile list. The wines are curated from all over the world and it can be a fun experience for wine lovers willing to try wines they may not have heard of but are sure to love!
Wine Discussion Websites
Want to talk wine online with other wine lovers? Try some of these forums to learn more about wine and meet like-minded wine enthusiasts and experts.
The wine discussion forums on WineWeb welcome all levels of wine interest and knowledge, from beginning to expert. Use of the forums is free and just requires signing up on the site. The forum allows you to have public discussions with other wine lovers as well as send private messages. You can also have an RSS feed sent to your reader if you prefer to peruse discussions that way. Some popular forums include Wine Novice, Wine & Health, What I Drank Last Week and Wine Shipping Laws.
This forum site is listed as the world's largest and most active online wine community. The site is free to use, although you must register and create an account. If you join the Grand Cru Crü for a fee, you can enjoy the forum ad-free and receive additional benefits. The forum welcomes both wine experts and newbies, with a section dedicated to "Wine 101: The Basics" and sections on pairing food with wine, recipes, reviews of retailers and winemaking discussions.
Learning More About Wine Online
Ready to learn more about wine? The Internet is an excellent place to start your wine journey. Don't forget to check out websites from your favorite wineries or wine retailers, where you may find out about upcoming events and special deals. If you're ready for a world of wine information, then pour yourself a glass of wine and start surfing the web.